Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The standing ovation said it all. Emily Molnar's, World Premiere, Dedica, was contemporary ballet at it's finest. Rich in symbolism and flowing with powerful emotion the dancers performed sensationally individually and as a troop falling, twisting, turning, frollicking and leaping with sheer abandon. Arms, legs, heads and torsos reeled with grace and poise to the joyful strains of Vivaldi. What pleasure it was to see the Ballet BC dancers back after such a threat to the company. Makaila Wallace,Shannon Smith, Donald Sales, Alexis Fletcher, Shannon Ferguson, Leon Feizo-Gas, Maggie Forgeron, Racheal Prince, Marianne Bauer-Grobbelaar, Delphine Leroux, Gilbert Small, Peter Smida, and Connor Gnam with apprentices, Alyson Fretz and Alex Parrett. These are truly great names of dance.
In addiction, dancers from the National Ballet of Canada, artistic director, Karen Kain, performed classical works like the delightful Pas de Deux from Sleeping Beauty. Guillaume Cote danced as powerfully as Tchaikovsky's music while Heather Ogden created beauty with the delicacy of her every move. The Pas de Deux from Lady of the Camellias to Chopin was danced most touchingly by Sonia Rodriguez and Piotr Stanczyk. Their opening piece was the George Balanchine Apollo in which Three Muses, Calliope of Poetry danced by Jillian Vanstone, Polyhymnia of Mime, danced by Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Terpsichore of Dance and Song, instruct the young God, Apollo danced by Guillaume Cote.
The first intermission followed this number and the vestibule was buzzing with appreciation.
Dr. Leslie of the Board had proudly shouted ,"Ballet BC is Back!" to cheers before introducing Jay Rankin from Toronto Dance Theatre as the new Executive Director and Emily Molnar as the new interim artistic director. Jay and Emily expressed their heartfelt thanks to all the Ballet BC supporters.
The atmosphere was one of almost family festivity as friends celebrated together this grand community event. For whatever reason the ladys had collectively come out in the finest display of beautiful shoes possibly to be seen in Vancouver. Compared to opera and theatre the ballet audiences are above and beyond the most tastefully and interestingly dressed. Intermission people watching was at a premium as everyone somehow knew this was one of those rare nights that would be long remembered.
Ballet BC the National Ballet with the works of Karen Kain and Emily Molnar and dancers of the finest orders, We were truly priviledged to be present. It portends so well for the rest of the season. Ballet BC certainly is ignited!

Fast Fish

A dozen babies have been sighted streaking at light speed about the tank. I am pouring mass quantities of food aid into the tank for the bigger fish. UN Peace Keeping forces were requested but they recommended Family Services. Family Services insisted the courts should be contacted in cases of cannibalism. The Fish Police arrived but couldn't take any of the bigger fish into custody because they couldn't find any bodies.

Chinese Law of the Fish

Couldn't find any little fish this morning. Hope some are hiding. Alot of self satisfied bigger fish.

The oldest law in the world is the Chinese Law of the Fish:

"There are big fish and there are little fish. The little fish must be fast and numerous"

Stop Section 13

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is itself one of those shady beaurocratic devices that overall has been a 'make work' project for lawyers and sadly whenever lawyers enter the equation the OJ trial essentially taught us that money talks. Repeatedly we hear a beaurocratic body taking an individual to task. The beaurocratic body is in existence to find fault. It's like censors. Their role expands to fill whatever vacuum. They'd be all over Walt Disney if they hadn't had easy pickings with Hustler. Now we have this body that censors writers and magazines based on the idea that something said is "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred." Little Sisters Bookstore has fought a long standing battle against the downright evil of those who would control information. This is just a variation on a very old theme. Any limitation on the power of the state to interfere with the freedom of citizens should be considered seriously. Individually few of us can afford the courts and when the state goes to battle it has at its command all the government's resources.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CAA - Writing Circle

I knew it was too good to be true. Perry was unpacking and laying out her metaphors and similes all over Margaret's living room. Judith's understated hyperbole and partisan punctuation had long taken up residence. Cathy was bountifully blogging in the dining room. The words were so unruly the cat came out to ponder alternative habitation. And what does Margaret do but bring in Sandra, a retired principal, to bring order to the cacaphonous chaos of our writer's circle. I came expecting a strap but not even a pronoun was barebottomed by this woman who instead went African on us. Margaret was beside herself. "You'd better write something this week," she told herself. "You'd better write something, or else." Meanwhile my character had bludgeoned another to death and I'm still no closer to becoming a romance writer.

Fish Babies

Before we could get Mark gowned and scrubbed the mother was delivering babies in the fish tank. Were there not so many of them we'd not have seen them layering the leaf. Moments later we got to see what we think might have been the father eating one or maybe it was the mother or a neighbour. You can't really see them in the pictures because they're sort of fish bite size. It was all very exciting though.

Psychiatric Defence Mechanisms

The term "defence" was coined by the early psychoanalysts. Freud perceived the ego as negotiating between the demands of the id, (sometimes referred to as the wild one, or child) and the superego (sometimes referred to as society or the "parent"). Eric Berne, the psychoanalytic founder of Transactional Analysis described Freud's Superego, Ego, and Id as Parent, Adult and Child looking at the transactions ocurring between these modes of thinking and relating in the more conscious and interpersonal world whereas Freud's work had been predominantly uncovering what occurred unconsciously. The early analysts decribed the ego 'defending' against the demands and later therapists would describe these as 'coping' mechanisms.

In Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry 7th ed, there's a excellent Classification of Defence Mechanisms in Table 6.1-2. In this table the defences are grouped in 4 major categories, Narcissistic, Immature, Neurotic and Mature.
Narcissistic defences are listed as , Denial, Distortion and Projection.
Immature defences are Acting out, Blocking, Hypochondriasis, Introjection, Passive Aggressive behaviour, Regression. Schizoid Fantasy, and Somatization.
Neurotic Defences are seen as Controlling, Displacement, Externalization, Inhibition, Intellectualization, Isolation, Rationalization, Dissociation, Reaction formation, Repression and Sexualization.
Mature Defences are Altruism, Anticipation, Asceticism, Humor, Sublimation, and Suppression.

Knowing the origins of these words and how the understanding of each developed over a hundred years of psychoanalytic studies is most illuminating.
Today while some of these words continue to hold true to their original meaning others have been quite distorted in pop psychology. They are also used too often in a denigrating way and not ironically the so called "mature defences" of humor, asceticism and altruism once wonderfully agreed on by society and it's leading therapists are now not infrequently maligned.

The world of advertising and popularity consensus political machinations indeed appeals to the majority who not uncommonly live little in the rarified world of "mature defences".

"Don't worry, be happy," is a marvellous theme song for Denial though in a different light it becomes the Suppression of maturity.
Distortion is what politics and the media live on.
Projection is the defence where I say you are doing what I'm thinking and feeling and thereby deny my own part in the subsequent interaction. The paranoid bully forever asks "what are you looking at!"
Beaurocrats live on 'passive aggression'. Confrontation is a 'dirty' word in a world where 'deniability' is the end all and be all of success and survival.
Schizoid fantasy is the promise of drugs and alcohol. Why experience "reality on reality's terms when a little something will allow you to alter reality. Increasingly the game world allows you to be the hero of your existence as well.
"Acting out" is the television favourite. Every TV hero from " Bueler" to "Godfather" celebrates the adolescent solution to all problems. "Don't think, do it!
"Controlling" is what the accountants and tax department tell you is the solution to life's anxieties while all of them and their leadership have spent the tax payers money and lives with impunity, denial, distortion and supreme acting out.
"Rationalization" is what makes the legal profession go round while intellectualization is the basis of academia. But the humor about these is the major stuff of comedians when the 'disconnects' are so readily apparent on an almost daily basis.
"Reaction formation", turning an unnacceptable impulse into it's opposite, is the bread and butter of censors and the judgemental. The televangelists condemn human behaviour while being caught themselves in animalistic orgies.
"Sexualization" is the essence of marketting. All life's anxieties are reduced with underarm deodorants and musk scented Depends.
But where is Altruism, anticipation, asceticism, sublimation in our society. "I want it all and I want it now" goes against any of these ideas. Yet the original analysts collectively understood that these were the most enduring and mature coping strategies which came into play as individuals gained wisdom and maturity.
We all use all of the defences mechanisms some of the time. It's only human. What we rely on reflects what historically was seen as emotional maturity. The defences or coping strategies have stood the test of time and are still recognised for their contribution to understanding why so often even our best intentions go awry.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pet Therapy

Over the years I've been a very big proponent of pet therapy. I first noticed the benefit of pets when I worked in different long term care facilities. Those with pets simply appeared to have calmer patients. Many of the old people were fascinated by the behaviour of the cat on one unit or by the gold fish on another. Their conversations and interest were sparked by these non human friends who served as a focal point for their attention and communication.
Later I was impressed to see pets making their 'rounds' in hospitals where their good natures and calming influence were acknowleged by the welcome given by staff and patients to these friends who brightened their lives and reduced their pain
In the movie "28 days" an alcoholic wanting a relationship is advised to first keep a plant. It's been a common recommendation for those in recovery to have a pet but in the movie the humor was that this fellow was so self absorbed that he was recommended instead to start with a plant. Pets take many of us out of ourselves.
Also they serve to organize disorganized lives. I enjoy hearing patients who have added a dog especially to their lives describe the exercise the dog is giving them. My cat literally tells me when she feels it's time for us to go to bed and unfortunately is equally exacting regarding wake up time.
I've often had fish in my waiting rooms because they have a calming distracting influence that prepares people for discussing the more anxiety provoking aspects of their lives.
Not surprisingly my dentist has a wall size tank which he uses for the same reason, but clearly as a dentist he needed a bigger tank and bigger fish.
Studies have shown petting dogs lowers blood pressures, dog owners require less medical attention for stress related illness and clearly having pets can boost peoples mood and increase social interactions.
When I go for a walk in the park today no one is likely to talk to me but when I used to walk my dog everyone wanted to talk to him. That didn't mean that they wanted to talk to me but it did mean I gained the benefits of being part of a popular social circle.


Where as oneupmanship has been described as a form of 'male bullying' ,onedownmanship was seen as the female equivalent or "female bullying" maneuver. Given the rise of individualism such gender differentiation is no longer so apparent. Women and men are equally using 'onedownmanship' to justify negative behaviours.
A favourite psychological contest is 'who had the worst childhood?" Interestingly as this is purely subjective and not so readily open to objective assessment it's also been called a 'whiner's ball" and the person who whine's most, or appears on the brink of being 'overwhelmed' or 'becoming out of control' usually steals the stage. As Shakespeare said, "all the world's a stage."
Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian, was one of the greats for making fun of this human trait. The classic dialogue of that era was ,'when I was a kid we had to walk 10 miles to school> You think that was bad, we had to walk 10 miles to school and we didn't have shoes.'
Today it is more common to hear, "I was sexually abused as a child." "Well, I was sexually and physically abused as a child." "I was sexually abused and physically abused and neglected." This is not to validate any abuse or denigrate the experience of abuse that individuals have. Further these discussions which occur is a psychaitrist's office are as different as the discussion of physical illness that patients have in their parlours compared to what goes on in the general pratictioner's office.
It is however interesting to note that the most capable of this kind of psychological 'game" or "transaction" as the Transactional Analysts described these ,were more often sociopaths and psychopaths as they were best at this kind of 'drama queen" or "drama king" presentation. In the triage considerations of physical medicine it was recognised that yelling for help took considerable energy so that commonly those who could put forth their concerns the best were not as end stage as the person exsanguinating beside them.
In the famous Take Back the Night series at Harvard one year the most impassioned speaker turned out to be bold faced lying about all the events of her life, claiming poverty when in fact she was rich, abuse when she was if anything the abuser. Indeed it's common for victimizer's to claim 'victimhood' as a last ditch attempt to escape responsibility.
The tragedy in the jails is that the psychopath, often a developed chameleon, can in fact do a far better, far more believable, presentation of victimship than the truly victimized. If it serves the psychopath to be a victim and do onedownmanship then it's likely they will do it and do it well. The movie, Chicago, did a very fine job of presenting how this plays out in the court drama.
That's also why Hollywood uses actors rather than real people more often than not to get across a particularly sad story. It's easier to 'act' being a victim than it is to be a real victim.
Further, as the Combat Veterans learned those who were in combat were the last to talk openly about their experiences whereas the first to come forward for pensions were those who were veterans but had been furthest from the arenas of action despite the stories they so glibly told.
"Onedownmanship" serves as social bullying because it can stop communication and deflect discussion of solutions but perpetually demanding attention to the past. In fact it's a kind of 'reverse ad hominem' in terms of philosophical fallacies. Further it is commonly associated with tremendous resentment and covert aggression. In a discussion where onedownmanship is employed the person not only is saying 'poor me' but directly or indirectly 'attacking' the other person as being an 'abuser' which of course constitutes 'false allegation' but this has somehow been lost in the pseudoscience of pop psychology.
There is also a common demand in 'onedownmanship' not for an individual situational deferential distinction but also for a "license" into perpetuity.
This demand to have the advantages and benefits of "victimhood" gave rise to the counter argument which was simply , "Get down off the cross, we can use the wood."
"Onedownmanship" and "victimhood" would not at first sight seem particularly attractive positions however in the greater context of society they are commonly 'compensatable." Further onedownmanship and victimhood are means whereby an individual can gather allies. The challenge is always in separating truth from falsehood and deciding individually priorization. Is this person 'bullying' or indeed 'needing' versus 'wanting' attention.

Insight Psychotherapy

Insight Psychotherapies are those which derived from psychoanalysis. The essential feature was that people learned in therapy to link their present behaviour with past events, usually traumatic events. As a result of gaining 'insight', the behaviour of the present could be changed. It was recognised that "repetition compulsion" had occurred unconsciously causing individuals to repeat the programs of their past in their present and thereby recreating the original trauma and chaos. When a person had 'insight' the unconscious became conscious and the present negative behaviours ceased to occur. Unfortunately this model of therapy which was very beneficial and effective in some individuals it was found to be of limitted value and quite harmful indeed in other situations. It was found in sociopaths and psychopaths that this just fueled their 'rationalization' and 'justification'. The key concept in 'insight' psychotherapy is that once a person had 'insight' then the negative behaviour evaporated. Unfortunately in others the 'insight' in no way changes the negative present day behaviour but is rather used by the individual as more 'justification' for their negative behaviour. This was seen commonly in drug and alcohol settings too where the expression arose "you can't think your way into right action but you can act your way into right thinking". That expression developed because "poor me, poor me,pour me another drink" was recognised as a form of justification for the negative behaviour and that therapies that focused on trauma initially resulted in more alcoholism and drug abuse.

In the example, I was abused so I keep picking people who abuse me, this was even seen by the 'insight psychotherapists' as only 'surface' insight since it continues to place the 'locus of control' and 'responsibility for change" outside individual. In insight psychotherapy the key message of empowerment was that your present life was the one you were creating, albeit unconsciously. Not only were you attracting negatives but you were attracted to the negative. Now with insight the 'choice' to change was restored.
Further the key insight that caused change was often the recognition of the 'secondary gain' which perpetuated the behaviour. In the example above the insight is that this is the safe and known behaviour and the change from it would require new learning and frankly new learning is difficult so better the 'devil' I know which is safer than the 'unknown'. Further a lot of 'so called' negative behaviours are extremely well paid for or provide immedidate gratification. Motivation therapy was developed to assess motivation for change because it was recognised that many "talk the talk" but few were willing to 'walk the walk".
The fact remains that if a person has 'insight' into their present negative behaviour and it persists they don't have 'true insight' but simply a surface 'justification' or 'rationalization'.
Insight psychotherapy is meant to 'extinguish' negative behaviour in the present not to justify or rationalize it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Anascortes Oyster Run 2009

Donnie told me about the Anascortes Oyster Run at the dance last night. I've planned to fix the door on the sailboat but the thought of riding my Harley to what Donnie said was the largest biker event in the Northwest just seemed to take precedence. I thought otherwise waiting at the Peace Arch border crossing and realizing I'd not seen that many other bikes. Thankfully a couple on their bike next to me were going to Anascortes as well. Once over the border more and more bikes began to appear. I linked up with three harleys on the Chuckanut Drive and before I knew it I was part of dozens of bikes flowing along that spectacular winding coastal road. At Edison there were so many bikes I thought I'd arrived at Anascortes. Standing on the street, there was Donnie. When I dismounted and joined him I asked and he said, "This is Edison. The Longhorn's one of the favourite stops." I had oysters and they were great. Donnie who'd lost track of the folks he'd started out with lead the way from Edison. He has a skookum Harley Fatbob which was a whole lot more and newer bike than my beloved Harley Roadster. As the more experienced rider too he was gracious enough not to leave me in his exhaust. Of course the police stopped us to say we were over the speed limit but when they saw we had Canadian speedometers they understood that our conversions could be out by 10 miles or so. Anascortes was spectacular. Donnie had said that there were more bikes last year but it was just that more came and stayed at the same time. This year people not wanting to get caught in the crunch that lead to 2 hours of traffick jam last year decided to leave early. The cool sunny weather was just perfect. Apparently 50,000 plus bikers were there this year. The whole town was one big bike show. Every bike related booth was there too from the latest choppers to women sewing on patches with turn of the 20th century foot pedal sewing machines. It was great just to walk about people watching and bike appreciating. Then it was a great ride back to Canada. What at rush!!!

Tainted Lovers

Tainted Lovers were a great dance band at the Vancouver AA Round Up. I enjoyed that they were called a 'retro' dance band. They played the hits of the 60's, 70's, and 80' but it was all great dance music.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Al Anon Family Groups

Al Anon and Alateen are jointly known as the Al Anon Family Groups. They are self help groups open to any one who has been affected by a person or persons suffering from alcoholism. In 1951 Al Anon was formed by Lois, the wife of Alcoholic's Anonymous co founder, Bill Wilson.

In Lois's Story, explained why, as the spouse of an alcoholic, she also required treatment.

After a while I began to wonder why I was not as happy as I ought to be, since the one thing I had been yearning for all my married life [Bill's sobriety] had come to pass. Then one Sunday, Bill asked me if I was ready to go to the meeting with him. To my own astonishment as well as his, I burst forth with "Damn your old meetings!" and threw a shoe as hard as I could.

This surprising display of temper over nothing pulled me up short and made me start to analyze my own attitudes. ... My life's purpose of sobering up Bill, which had made me feel desperately needed, had vanished. ... I decided to strive for my own spiritual growth. I used the same principles as he did to learn how to change my attitudes. ... We began to learn that ... the partner of the alcoholic also needed to live by a spiritual program.

Lois Wilson , Lois's Story in How Al-Anon Works[3]

AL Anon meetings can be found internationally. They are listed in the phone books or a meeting can be found through their on line site,
The standard meeting of Al Anon is to break up into smaller groups so that each individual who wants to has a chance to share. In these small groups individuals share their 'experience, strength, and hope ' regarding their exposure to individuals suffering the disease of alcoholism. It's recognised that often new comers arrive with low self esteem because they have had unrealistic expectations of 'control' over the drinking behaviour of others and have demanded 'perfection' often from themselves.
These are words from the latest Al Anon publication regarding relationships:“At meetings we find people who have discovered that happiness is a choice they can make at any moment. Contentment is no longer seen as an accidental mood created when someone else does what we want. We see people who are able to find peace and serenity even when the outward circumstances of their lives are chaotic. We’re able to listen to them share, and we find that their experience of living with an alcoholic has much in common with ours. As we hear about the relationships in their lives—healthy or unhealthy—we come to understand that everyone in Al-Anon is on a similar path. Peace of mind and healthy relationships are possible for all of us.”

From Discovering Choices
(B-30), page 24-25

There are several books which are recommended readings for those who come to Al Anon. The basic text of Al Anon is "How Al Anon Works"

ow Al-Anon Works for Families&Friends of Alcoholics (B-22)Price: $ 13.50
Al-Anon's basic book

Public Outreach

Product Description
Al-Anon's basic book discusses our mutual-help program of recovery, including personal stories. A beginning approach to the Twelve Concepts of Service is included. Indexed. 416 pages.
Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon's Steps, Traditions and Concepts by Al-Anon Family Group Head Inc
Paths to Recovery, Al Anon's Steps, Traditions and Concepts discusses these three Legacies for spiritual growth and change. The 12 steps were adapted from the 12 steps of AA however whereas the AA steps first refer to Alcohol before moving onto relationships with others and God, the Al Anon steps begin immediately with relationships. In the self study questions to Step one (We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable) there are these telling questions - Do I accept that I cannot control another person's drinking? Another person's behaviour? Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker? Have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences? What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met? In what situations do I fee excessive responsibility for other people? How have I sought approval and affirmation from others? Do I say 'yes' when I want to say 'no". Do I take care of others easily but find it difficult to care for myself? How do I feel when I'm alone? Am I attracted to alcoholics another people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?
"The 12 traditions show us how to build healthy relationships within our groups, among our friends, and in our families."
"The Concepts help us to extend all that we learn to the world at large - our families, jobs, organizations and communities."
Courage to Change: One Day at a Time in Al-Anon II
Courage to Change is a small daily reflection book which many Al Anon's read daily to start their day on a spiritual note. It's also used at meetings as a stepping stone to discussions.
Today's reading, September 26 goes on to say "When I first came to Al-Anon, I thought that anger, resentment, jealousy and fear were 'bad' feelngs. The program has helped me to learn that feelings are neither good nor bad - they are simply a part of who I am. I have come to realize that good has sometimes come as a result of those feelings. Anger has prompted some constructive changes in my life. Resentment has made me so uncomfortable that I've had to learn to combat it - as a result, I have learned to pray for other people. Jealousy has taught me to keep my mouth shut when I know that I will say only irrational destructive things. And fear has been perhaps my greatest gift, because it forces me to make conscious contact with a higher power........"
"With a change of attitude, I have choices about what to do with
When I first went to Al Anon over 12 years ago I found that I was the only man in the meetings I first attended and didn't feel particularly good about this. Since then I have found more and more men attending Al Anon meetings. Locally there's is also a men's Al Anon meeting on the Vancouver north shore which has been running weekly for some 20 years. In the Al Anon meetings I've attended in the last couple of years I have always found other men who have been married to alcoholics or addicts or have family members who suffer the disease of alcoholism. No doubt there are still meetings where there are only women but the trend seems to be to more mixed meetings. Al Ateen has always tended to more male and female participation. This is the site for information about meetings in the British Columbia and Yukon region.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Friday, September 25, 2009

21st Annual Vancouver AA Round-Up

Sept. 25 and 26, 2009. Al Anon is participating in this year's round up held in the Vancouver Alpen Club at 4875 Victoria Drive. The hall is fabulous. Tonight's speaker was Mari G from Toronto whose tale of woe and recovery travelled from Scotland to Jamaica to Canada. "I lived across the street from Bob Marley. We both had BMW's. He asked me what BMW stood for and I told him Bavarian Motor Works. He said, "No ma'am, it stands for Bob Marley and the Whalers". 25 years sober in AA she described the "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization" she'd known drinking and the miraculous redemption she'd had sober. It was a truly amazing and moving story. After the crowd danced to DJ Diggity. Tomorrow's program starts with 9:30 registration and meetings going all day. Sobriety Countdown is at 7:30 pm with Don L., the guest speaker from Seattle, starting his talk at 8.00 pm. 9:45 to 1:00 am is the dance with live band, "Tainted Lovers".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Princeton Municipal RV Park and Campground

Princeton Municipal RV Park and Campground

We drove in late at night. We played on the way. Laura saw her new grandson. He’s grown so big that at 3 months he’s bigger than Laura. He’s talking up a storm in God language that humans forget as they devolve from the best it gets, babyhood. He’s got so much of the female attention that the bull mastiff dog has taken to bringing the neighbour’s garbage pail and garbage home, just bringing a single bag of garbage not getting the attention it once did before baby.

Then outside of Hope I saw a deer that made me pull off the road and stalk it till I could shoot it down a ravine. It was too far from the truck. I wasn’t thinking. I quartered it. With much weezing and groaning I hauled it all into the back of the truck.

When I was younger I carried the deer I shot on my shoulders. Later I dragged them. Now I quarter them. Soon I’ll just butcher the deer where I shoot it and carry the steaks up one at a time. After that I’ll have to phone ‘delivery deer’.

When I joined Laura in the truck again I was dripping in sweat. We pulled into the campsite just at dark.Jim and Karen and their chocolate toy poodle Sierra were happy to greet us. Karen gave us site 42 by the river with water and electricity and “a little beach of your own.” Laura loves that Karen and Jim keep the showers and washrooms so clean. “It’s so much nicer roughing it when you have really clean showers and washrooms”, she says.

The tent required NASA’s assistance to put it up. . It was developed by Coleman to assist refugees sneaking into Canada through the northern wilderness. You wouldn’t believe a tent could hold a small nation. It could, but it takes NASA’s assistance to get it up. Laura gave it her best shot.

Around midnight with left over poles pegs and pieces of tent we finished. Thanks to the Ford Ranger’s fusion battery powered lights we could see our accomplishment. To celebrate we ate canned chilli, gourmet style. We cooked it in a pot rather than eating it cold from the can. Then we collapsed in our sleeping bags. The huge air mattress deflated. It must have a leak. I’d bought the Canadian tire electric car lighter inflater on the way and even that hadn’t impressed the mattress. We had to fall back to the Mountain Coop self inflating thin mattresses. We were nearly sleeping on the ground. More roughing it.

Our neighbours all had homungous castle campers deposited on site by logging helicopters freed up from the Iraq war for just their use. They pitied us as they looked out their windows at our tent while watching their wall size tvs and whacking back multiple martinis.. We were the neighbourhood people everyone needs to feel good about their own good fortune. I anticipated the ladies coming by in the morning and bringling Laura cast off blankies and baked biscuits. She’d no doubt regale them with what it was like to stay in a tent as they shook their heads and sighed in sympathy. “We have perfectly good homes in Barbadoes, Los Angeles, Paris and Istanbul while Harold insists we rough it in this million dollar camper that doesn’t even have servant’s quarters, can you believe it! “

I believe I’ve always hated 5 am. I had the electric heater on in the tent but it was still nippy. Electric heaters were part of my new older person idea of ‘roughing it’, like running water and showers and bathrooms. My clothes were all over the place because God didn’t give me a personal valet. Servants are wasted on the rich. I could get better use out of one especially shivering in underwear looking for flannel shirts and khaki pants. Putting on socks and boots and lacing boots then strapping on the utility belt with knives and ammo exhausted me.

The stars were out. Laura was sleeping. I couldn’t be bothered making my own coffee. Thank God for Starbucks cold Cappucinos. Only then, fully dressed, I realize I now had to use the washroom. It was a city block away. And you can’t trust at fart at 5 am after Starbuck’s coffee.

Eventually ,wearing motorcycle armour, helmut and gloves, my rifle slung over my back. I started the ignition switch. The Honda CRF 230 purred into action. I was off.

The logging trails are about 10 miles from the camp. I got to ride along on asphalt at 100 k till I got there.. I became an icycle at that speed and became grossly aware I’d not factored windchill into my clothing decisions. My teeth were seizuring by the time I slowed for the turn off. The sky was a glow in the east. I couldn’t shoot anything in this light if I wanted. I could have stayed in bed another hour. It took that long to stop shaking and shivering so I might have a decent aim. I was frozen driving about logging roads till the sun came over the hills. It’s warmth was amazing. Who would have thought a little orb like that could give off such heat. I’m all for global warming.

After hiking a bit, I was too chilled to sit and wait for game, I got back on the bike and immediately a grouse appeared. I almost crashed stopping . Then I had to get the helmut off to get the rifle free,, I was choking myself with the strap caught on the helmut. Then I had to find the ammo and load. Thankfully the grouse was patient and I shot it’s head off as it wasn’t using it. The rest was food.

Now I had a grouse. The sun was out and I could see it was a beautiful day. All pine and spruce with arid patches of scrub and sand. It was 10 am.

I liked 10 am. I’ve always liked 10 ams. Much better to drive around on logging roads thawed.

I never did see any deer, moose or bear. The lone grouse was the only game I’d shoot that day.

But cans were a different matter. I killed a caboodle of cans with the new rifle. That’s what one does with a new rifle. This Mossberg 30-30 was a jewel. Maybe the grouse I shot had been a lucky shot. Better practice more before the bear comes along. More excuses to shoot cans.

When I got back to the campsite I was considering leaving because even though I had deboned the deer quarters and put it all on ice in the cooler I was concerned about the meat.

Karen offered to lend us her freezer for that and I gave her grouse in ex change. We’d stay another night. Karen also told me there’s a wild game butcher out 5 mile way. Karen and Jim are definitely country folk. They’ve been so long without Walmarts and 7 – 11 ‘s that they don’t know how to give decent directions in a civilized way. Instead of saying the butcher is around the corner from the 7-11 they use this country folk communication using km or miles. It’s sad but kind of quaint hearing them talk that way. They were always so helpful telling us where to find people and places in the neighbourhood.

When I got back to the tent the upper class RV folk had left brochures of various RV’s the way evangelists leave their religious tracts on doorsteps in the city. They obviously thought we could be saved.

Another day hunting I slept in till the sun was up. It was much easier that way and less likely I’d get game and have to haul it back. I buzzed all over the backroads at the highest speed I could go without having panic attacks. When the tunnel vision began to obscure the road I’d back off on the throttle and found the chest pain let up some. I didn’t see any game partly because I shot every beer can I found on the trails. Tends to discourage game from being neighbourly and welcoming you over for tea. All that shooting and noise making. I know they recommend you pick other peoples garbage up as well as your own but I thought pulverizing it with holes would help the ecology even if I left the remains where they were

Not having seen anything thus far I remembered my old hunting dog used to roll around in dead fish and cow dung and such to conceal his smell. I happened upon a bunch of bear shit so figured I’d just roll around in that. Left me fairly pungently disquised if I say so myself.

When I got back Laura told me the showers were really clean here and suggested I might enjoy them. Normally you’d let the bear shit age over night in the sleeping bag but I was feeling some aches and pain so welcomed the hot water shower.

After that I went over to Princeton Outfitters. Ron and Loretta were there as usual. They'd sold me all the great all weather cammo gear I use years ago so I know they know their stuff. Another year he gave me the right lure the fish were biting on when everything I had wasn't getting rejected like they were all teen ager fish.

I had earlier tried to convince Ron that the deer tag he sold me was ‘refundable’ but he insisted that was just not the case. Seemed to me “refundable game licenses” would make his store even more popular than it was.. The thing I dropped by to tell him was that as he sold deer piss as scent for disguise, he ought to sell soap that smelt like bear shit. He seemed to take that suggestion as seriously as my ‘refundable” licenses but was glad enough to sell me another thousand rounds of 30 30 170 grain ammo just in case I came across anything threatening. He’d put the strap on my Mossberg that made it real easy to carry.

After I came back at noon from hunting, Laura made up breakfast and then we sat around in the sun for the afternoon, looking at the river and the forest around. A couple of deer came into the campsite to visit but didn’t have horns so I didn’t welcome them as I might otherwise. Laura thought they were so cute. A killer by the name of Ron moved in next to us and began trying to murder fish but he had to get them to take hold of his hand made flies first. They seemed suspicious of his generosity with his trojan horse flies and didn’t come out to be murdered. After that we got to talking about shotguns and dynamite and other ways people have fished. The conservation guy had told Ron that people caught a lot of fish in this river but he’d not specifically said they’d used flies and fly rods. I did think that he might want to speak to Karen and Jim about blowing up the river and catching fish that way.

In the evening I went out hunting again, or rather, dirt biking and can killing. Then I’d come in and we’d barbecue wieners over the fire I made with wood and gasoline. I love how those gasoline fires just poof into a blaze. Makes you jump back awful fast though. Laura left the firelighting to me. I let off a cherry bomb firecracker too and that got a bored dog barking half the night. We sat there eating hot dogs looking at the stars and listening to that dog barking. It was idyllic.

When the chill got on we climbed into the heated tent and read with the electric light bulb I rigged up.

The only problem was we eventually had to leave. It took a whole morning to pack the truck then we took the backways Lawless Road home to avoid going through Manning Park where they frown on hunting. Besides the eco terrorists were holding a rally there trying to save the Pine Beatles they’d communed with when they were tying themselves to the trees they were spiking.

We’d had a great time at the Princeton Municipal RV and Campground. Jim and Karen sure did make us feel welcome even if they didn't know how to tell directions like city folk do.

As we pulled into Vancouver dodging crack addicts walking around on Hastings, the Pepper Pot band was playing Joni Mitchell's "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot." I just had to open my window and suck in all that polluted air my body had been craving. Good to be back in the wilds.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Psychiatric Medication in Recovery

Psychiatric Medications are an acceptable part of a good Recovery Program. That said, there are clear guidelines which while not written in stone should be well known to those in recovery or those prescribing to those in recovery should the need for medications arise.
Abstinence from all substances is clearly the aim in the first year of recovery. A study out of Hazelton showed that there was greater relapse in those who used antidepressants than those who did not. There were factors of what was controlled for in this study but it did give an indication of the potential hazard 'treating a drug' problem with a drug might be.
Any drug that has a "price" on the street has potential for abuse and should be seriously considered before use in early recovery. This specifically refers to all the benzodiazepine class and the the amphetamines and pain killers.
The benzodiazepine class includes valium, diazepam, alprazolam, ativan, clonazepam, and temazepams as examples. The amphetamine class includes the dexedrine and ritalins. The pain killers are the narcotic class of drugs codeine, tylenol#1,2and 3, oxycontins, demerols etc.
This doesn't however refer to antidepressants or antipsychotics which necessarily have a positive place in recovery. Medications such as the SSRI's, paxil, prozac, zoloft, celexa, cipralex and the more broad spectrum antidepressants, effexor, duloxetine, remeron, wellbutrin are often beneficial in recovery. Antipsychotics or tranquillizers such as seroquel, zyprexia, rispiridone, zeldox, loxapine, flupethixol are very beneficial and commonly used instead of the benzodiazepine class for anxiety.
At an addiction medicine conference this summer the presenter asked how many of the hundreds of addictionists present had prescribed benzodiazepines or amphetamines or pain killers and 90% admitted to this practice. The majority of those doctors there were in 12 step recovery programs themselves.
The presenter said that the key factor was the 'recovery' program and the duration of recovery before the introduction of medication.
Each case required individualization within the context of strong guidelines putting recovery in the forefront.

The Alano Club

1525 West 7th Avenue,
Vancouver B.C. Canada, V6J 1S1
Telephone: 604.736.5110
Fax or Message: 604.736.5109

The Alano Club is a separate non profit organization from AA and other Recovery Organizations. It's objective is however to help the members of Alcoholics Anonymous and others who have a desire not to drink as a resource. It is a place where AA meetings and Al Anon meetings are regularly held and where information and personnel who can assist those wishing to become sober and remain sober can be readily accessed. The daily 10 am AA meeting is particularly popular whereas the week day 2 pm daily meeting is also popular with those earlier in recovery who still consider the afternoon the morning.
The Vancouver Alano Club has existed since 1950. Many, especially single men, when drinking had their whole social life tied up in the bar and when they stopped drinking had no where to socialize. The original Alano Clubs therefore offered a non drinking environment that in some ways mimicked the original bar or club atmosphere. Shuffleboards, billiards, and darts were played there. Coffee, tea and sandwiches were available. Today the Vancouver Alano Club is a handsome club with a beautiful view of the city, large glassed meeting area, large balcony where smoking not surprisingly occurs, and a library area with computer desks, leather couches and wide screen tv. No longer reminiscent of the 1950 bar or club today's atmosphere retains some of the private English club atmosphere but has taken on more of a uptown lounge coupled with comfortable home rec room flavour. The Vancouver Alano Club has over the years had many other events including the Coffeehouse, Open Mike, and Blues Night. Given the number of famous musicians and entertainers in recovery it was not uncommon that the finest shows in town were anonymously performed at the Alano Club. Vancouver Alano Club is welcoming and warm in every sense of the word. Another Alano Club can be found on the North Shore. It's been around since 1973 and hosts many large AA speaker meetings as well as smaller discussion AA meetings. It often hosts dances and a variety of club events. Another Alano Club that serves light meals and has a distinctive west coast flavour of it's own is the Victoria Alano Club. It's main room is cafeteria drop in style whereas it has several large rooms where cozy meetings of AA take place. The Alano Club of Victoria1402 Broad Street Victoria BC V8W2B1

Phone 383-9151 Office 383-7803

Alano Clubs can be found around North America and serve as a place for travelling AA's to visit or find a daily meeting. The VANCOUVER RECOVERY CLUB is not an Alano Club per se.The Alano Clubs developed out of the Alcoholics Anonymous tradition however when the Recovery Club was conceived it was considered that there was a local need for a broader based club that served as addicts as much as alcoholics. Increasingly the two diseases are overlapping and individuals of all backgrounds are generally welcomed in the clubs. The Recovery Club however has as many NA , Narcotics Anonymous Meetings, as well as AA meetings. It also has a cafe style area for drop in with wide screen tv and a recovered monitor for assistance always present. In addition there are washrooms and meetings. One large meeting area commonly sports Friday or Saturday night dances. The Recovery Club has a very popular hard core 11 pm meeting for those who really want to end their day on a strong sober note.

These are all tremendous resources for those in recovery and the men and women who organize and support and maintain these clubs are truly remarkable.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vancouver: The Beautiful

When I first came to Vancouver as a child all I recall is the magnificent ocean and islands. It was hardly a city then. But when I came later as a young adult in the 1971 it was the peace and love era but what I remember most was the green. It was the most luscious, and remains the most luscious city, I've ever seen. Not surprising given that it's in the middle of a rain forest and the plants are happiest here. Emily Carr depicted in her forests the otherworldliness of this sacred land of Kwaukiutl. The place of abundance where natives found unlimitted salmon in the rivers and ocean runs and great stags in the mountains and fields. The people I met were always so friendly and decidedly given to the outdoors because there was so much of it. In contrast to most the rest of Canada the climate here made it accessible all year round. .
In the 80's I came to visit and stayed. My friends had taken me mountain climbing with packs and telemark skis in spring to the nearby Coastal mountains. We hiked up to the snow, then with skins on our skis for grip climbed up to the alpine to ski the next couple of days spending the night in a public cabin just for this purpose. Then we climbed down again. I remember travelling the sea to sky highway watching the sailboats tacking in the harbour. People actually were swimming and scuba diving in the waters along the way. All seasons in one day and within one hour of the city. I was hooked.
The city itself grew more beautiful every year with the light glass fairy beautiful buildings of the west coast with their pastel colours starkly in contrast to the heavy dark east coast sky scrapers. When I was young I loved the party life of the wild and exotic nightclubs which reflect the influx of so many different people from different lands. A truly multicultural experience in the night life and dining.
There was always the English, Italian, French and Eastern European influence in dining but in time the Pacific Rim contributions were reknowned. Travelling I rarely found our local chefs, be they French, East Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican or Canadian American surpassed in their countries of origins. It seemed over and over again that the very best of the world was coming to Vancouver.
Older I loved living on my sailboat in False Creek, taking a dinghy to the Market on Granville Island. In the fall I'd go inland and hunt for venison and moose. All winter I'd love the wild stews I'd make and on weekends enjoy the down hill skiiing in the city on Grouse Mountain or drive up to Whistler and Blackomb for the really great skiing and the luxury of Chateau Whistler. Later I'd love the cross country skiing on Cyprus where the hiking and dirt biking was so fine other times of the year.
Stanley Park was a wonder beyond compare with the old forest and trails for walking or biking. I loved the duck pond and took so many pictures of all the migratory birds that came there and swans laying eggs and raising young. When relatives came to town I delighted in sharing the incredible Vancouver Aquarium with the most exotic fish inside while outside the beluga, dolphins and sea otters were the most amazing characters.
Working in the city I came to love China town with it's dim sum. The Chinese moved mostly to Richmond suburb which became a little Hong Kong of sales and industry but old China Town near Coal Harbour port was where I loved to wander and eat. Gas town with it's famous Steam Clock, cobblestone streets and vast array of tourist shops and artisan wares was always a joy to walk through. Outdoor cafes are everywhere in Vancouver and all seasons you can sit inside or outside enjoying coffee or tea.
Yaletown developed almost overnight from warehouse area to exclusive interior designers dream with great seafood and oyster restaurants.
The Vancouver Art Gallery and Museum have always been entertaining with their local exhibits and visiting shows. I've always loved the avante garde creative extraordinare theatre of Fringe while having season's tickets to Pacific and Queen E enjoying the high standards of drama Vancouver is reknowned for. Ballet BC with it's contemporary, traditional but uniquely west coast experience is a favourite season ticket delight while the Vancouver Opera hosts the finest shows. The arts are so alive in Vancouver.
But what would Vancouver be without the Canucks, the greatest hockey team of all to a city of rowdy hockey fans. But with the international community growing there's soccer too. And always the aboriginal community has had Lacrosse. Their totems famous on the west coast are proudly displayed in Stanley Park and always there are the Haida carvings so prominently displayed in the world reknowned Vancouver Museum of Anthropology. The war canoes and masks continue to be produced by the most creative people who now form friendships with all the aboriginal peoples of the world and celebrate their First Nations status with drumming and dance.
Spiritually there's their Sweat Lodges and every Church and synagogue and temple known to man seems to have sprung up in celebration of the divine. These places serve not only as places of congregation and worship but like Christ Church Cathedral are a centre for outstanding orchestral music and weekly compline. St. Andrew Wesly United Church has weekly jazz vespers where the finest jazz musicians perform.
And there's the sea wall for miles around Stanley Park and that's just down town because across the grand restored Lion's Gate Bridge there's the north shore Ambleside Park. Lonsdale Quai is just one of the many pleaures that abound out from the centre of Vancouver that is the West End.
There Kitsilano with it's distinctive shops leading out to UBC, a gem of a campus. Banyen Books is an institution of ecumenicalism with books from Christianity to Islam to Paganism reside side by side in a great complex, a rare place on the earth where those of different spiritual faiths can brush past each other without warfare. On UBC Regent College Bookstore caters to Christians of all faiths. Vancouver is a centre of peace. Though the famed hilarious bathtub races from Nanaimo to English Bay or the Dragon Boat Races in False Creek would seem anything but peaceful. Davie Street which is the centre of the annual gay pride parade is also where Little Sister's bookstore continues to defend civil liberty at high cost. Commercial Street is where the Italian cafes and cyclists gather among artists and students. Shaughnassey once the wealthy centre of VAncouver still is a feast of old world decadence while the new world decadence has moved to West Vancouver's British Properties. Architects have contributed as much to the city in the remarkable homes of Vancouver as they have with buildings like Canada Place where the tour ships depart from.
It's a truly beautiful city so full of creative, industrious, incredible people who come together to celebrate life of the North West Pacific Coast.
There's just too many wonders to name that I fear I've hardly touched the surface of this amazing city and it's people who have kept me enthralled for decades. I can only apologise for all those unsung heroes and the places of wonder I've cherished so long.

Self Assured

I was so self assured
In my days of innoscence and ignorance
So right in what I knew and said
And ready to argue ancient history
But memory is no longer what it was
Now that I know the studies
Of even my great memory's limitation
As passions make me believe whatever
Great passions would believe
History is always interpreted and selected
Too often for the juries of childhood
More so when I am a majority
As even stupid people in large groups
Become more certain by association
No, I am more self assured today
In what I can not know
Given the terms of reference.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CAA = Writer's Circle

The Writer's Circle has begun. Writer's don't write in summer. It's in their contract. No reading of their works either. Writer's Circles break for summer vacation and begin in fall. How else can writers get the sales on pencils if they don't buy in the fall when the students do. Summer prices for writing supplies are outrageous. A lap top computer which can be bought for a grand or two of a life time of Canadian Royalties would be priced Amercan in Summer.
Our Writer's Circle met tonight. A bit of a Writer's Triangle actually. A couple of members begging off, homewook not done, wild sex lives interfering, watching American Idol, putting finishing touches on an underground manifesto, getting writer's rates from terrorists who found their lack of spelling and punctuation was reducing their credibility, whatever excuses absent writers can come up with when they can't bring themselves to meet with other writers.
But we met without them. And gossipped about their work and their nails and their hair. "And imagine she dressed her character in the same sensible shoes she was wearing herself!"
That said, there was murder and mayhem with bodies strewn all over San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. It's going to be a bloody year. Already 5 victims were mutilated, extinguised, savaged, excremented, put to the death, desisted, outsourced, and otherwise made dead by just two writers. Police, killers, private eyes, intrigue, adventure, magic and profound insights on life by writers who really do write.
And then we gossipped some more. Stories about families, work, and other writers. More gossip about the Canadian Authors Association writers. "Really!" "He said that." "She did not."
And then we went our separate ways into the night. We're be back at it in a couple of weeks. I'll have to kill another character if I'm to keep up with the murderous Jones. I can't wait to see whose still alive next week.

Vancouver: City of Thieves

I live in a security conscious complex on Beach in Vancouver Westend with locked underground parking. Today my truck was broken into. It's the second time in a couple of years. I phoned the manager to learn that a half dozen cars had been violated last night. She'd phoned the police and they'd told her there was an epidemic in the area this last week. No doubt the thieves are holding academy training sessions in preparation for the 2010 Olympics. Likely too all man ner of theives are coming to Vancouver for that event expecting to compete in pilfering and violation along with all the other olympic athletes.

Unfortunately the police increasingly seem to be solely or wholly involved in city tax collection looking for minor violations to various codes which they can then use to 'bill' the tax paying citizens. Criminals are the least of their concerns. Indeed, if it weren't for crime they'd be out of work. Crime encourages voters to want more police and then the government has more tax collectors. Obviously if the city was denied the use of police for anything but crime fighting we'd have a safe city but then the white collar criminals would no doubt turn to blue collar crime. It's not an easily fixed system.

This recent rash of crime may well be secondary to the Campbell government denying the poor housing and food and other luxuries with their new corporate budgets resulting in more criminals. Besides "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".

Vancouver remains a leading city for car theft. When I lived in Shaughnassey, one of the richest areas of the city, I finally installed cameras and house alarms after multiple break ins while I was at work. I imagined the insurance agents running a shuttle service for the East Vancouver thieves to be taken daily to their shopping mall, Shaughnassey. Every claim made to an insurance company resulted in rates going up. My friend had his house broken into so many times that he stopped carrying insurance and left the door open so he wouldn't have to pay for the repairs. In Shaughnassey the family heirlooms went, the irreplaceable mementos of great grandparent history that now, called "antigues" fetched a fine underground economy dollar. War medals of relatives made it from theives to the even lower form of insect called 'fences'. My musician friend lost his hand made violin. Now noone will appreciate the love that went into the making and the sound will be that of a stolen bird.

The heroin addiction population routinely steal at least a thousand dollars a day to get ten cents on the dollar for a hundred dollar a day drug habit. It works out to a half million dollars a year saving at least for every heroin addict placed on methadone. The addict may 'chip' here and there with extra drugs but the dealers don't get their steady non taxable income. An enlightened legal program would require methadone maintenance for any '100 time loser' heroin addict thief released to the community. They are known and personally I'd rather see their faces advertised than pedophiles. Then maybe I'd know who was dumpster diving in my neighbourhood as a cover for their other activities. I don't have children and don't think the pedophiles are casing my building and underground parking but I know the thieves have better surveillance on it than the police have on them.

The expression "as above, so below' is an old medieval saying. Is the street theivery just a reflection of the political theivery. If there was any morality at the top then there might be some morality on the streets. I don't keep valuables in my vehicles. Why have valuables when you can't protect them anyway. Insurance never covers the real loss. Couldn't we require that the attourney general's budget be docked to the value of every theft so that the state might finally have some incentive to do something about theft. It's not just the violation but the last time I lost a day getting the door in to have the lock fixed and then spent another day shopping for emergency materials, like flashlights and shovels I keep in my car for 'safety'. No doubt the theives need these to bury their loot at night in Stanley Park.

Could we not also require all those political leaders living in the dachaus of safe well patrolled British Properties to live a week elsewhere in Vancouver so that they could have an invested interest in the city they so successfully exploit. Also could it not be a requirement for Victoria's Parliamentarians in general to vist Vancouver and park their cars in this city, if only for one night, just to give the thieves a little exotic variety.

Alright I'm angry. I pay taxes and wonder what for as usual. I invest in all the security I reasonably can but I'm supposed to rely upon my government to 'protect' me and my property. When I told the police my truck was broken in last time they told me not to keep anything in my truck. What was stolen was the emergency equipment like flashlights, shovels and rope I kept in my truck for other kinds of emergencies. The rental SUV I had for when my truck door was being repaired was broken into too. It had nothing in it and the rental company had to replace the broken lock. The police however seemed to think that 'blaming the victim' (it's your fault you work and have possessions that thieves steal from you) is why they get my taxes.

Why work when it's much more lucrative to steal. The laws protect the criminals and we all feel sorry for the offenders who naturally were offended against themselves. No doubt the thief who stole from me was a single mother immigrant woman from a war torn country who was gang raped by a military junta as a teen ager and she's now married to a mobster her beats her and she was just doing break and entries to get drugs because the cruel state doesn't supply her ecstacy for free. My street nurse friend working Vancouver East side said the greatest problems were the predators and thieves who harrass and steal from the poor street people and are naturally well known to the police who merely 'record' their crimes too.

The Attorney General is Michael de Jong. He's personally responsible for being easy on criminals and interestingly comes from Abbotsford , the car theft capital of Canada. He's also a lawyer and the greatest weakness of the Canadian Democratic System is that Lawyers are allowed to be Attourney Generals. Ministers of Health are no longer required to be doctors but when we've had a lawyer as Minister of Health all hell has broken lose. It's really time other citizens were Attorney Generals because, quite frankly, there won't be a solution to crime in British Columbia until the system that perpetuates crime changes fundamentally. The police say that the Attorney General has tied their hands. I would accept this if they didn't have their hands free for speeding and parking violations.

Still the problem is Michael de Jong's and later today after I speak to the police I will send a note to Michael de Jong and would recommend that everyone who is violated in British Columbia report the crime to him directly because like most people in government who have power they've protected themselves from hearing the people by a group of lackeys who are only highly paid to protect their ministers from the citizens complaints. I wonder when Michael de Jong's car was last broken into or stolen. Perhaps a picture of it could be put out there and the thieves could practice on that rather than doing their 2010 training on trucks like mine.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mossberg 464 Lever Action 30-30

The Mossberg 464 Lever Action 30-30 reminded me of the rifle my father had all the while I was growing up. It resided in a wooden gun case he'd made personally. There was lock on the door but a glass front allowed you to look in at the guns. A bottom drawer was where ammunition went.
Given the Cold War and Kennedy Missile Crisis I'd wake to nightmares of Russian soldiers on the lawn. In dreams I'd crawl to the gun case and get my dad his 30 -30, my brother would get the shot gun and I'd have the little 22 rifle and the soldiers would retreat. I don't remember firing at anyone in my dreams just that image of the protected home and the threat receding.

I would later take my hunter safety courses with that same 22. I felt safe in an unsafe time knowng dad's rifle was there. The neighbourhood was safe and part of that safety was the responsible gun ownership and the training that the men who had guns had taken in military or as hunters. Fathers taught sons and so on.
Dad was ex air force and most of the men in the neighbourhood had served in the forces during WWII or Korea. Dad's friend down the road hunted geese and the men would get together sharing hunting stories. Most of the men I grew up with had rifles and gun cabinets. Dad's was this 'cowboy rifle' made famous with us kids by the tv series Rifleman.

Grandad was a rancher and we grew up riding whenever we got out to the farm. Sometimes Dad and I would ride with his cowboy friends after work. Later I'd ride alone. Mostly just a way to go places, horses being the original off road vehicle. I now have the Honda 250 enduro.

I took my new rifle out at dawn in search of deer. I'd briefly sighted it in but no deer came. Later I shot a lot of targets and cans with the new rifle admiring the classic Mossberg action. It's an American made rifle and the action of the Mossberg is one of the finest. So smooth. No jams with this rifle. I shot off dozens of shells getting used to the open sights I'd not used for years. I'd preferred scopes but open sights allow for quicker action. I'm going to see how well it works for now. Certainly the shattered bottles and holed cans spoke to my accuracy with open sites.

It's an easy carrying gun. The shell costs are almost half my 3006 shells and while that rifle is good to 300 yards the 30 00 is best around 100 yard where most game is encountered. It's a light easy carrying rifle. Now I just have to find a rifle scabbard attach to the motorbike.

Pemberton to Harrison Hot Springs by 4x4

When you leave the Pemberton Lodge with it's magnificent pool and hottub, you take a right to Mount Currie. The comfortable pool side suite, order in Pizza that night, a late night movie, luxurious bathroom and comfortable queen bed prepare you for what might be the last trip. The new Honda CRF 250 motorcycle was on the back of my old Ford Ranger FX$ Level II. Part of the rational for the motorcycle was to reduce wear and tear on the truck as well as save on gas. The bike was just the thing for rough terrain. Maybe the truck was jealous. There were implausible explanations for everything.

"Can you get through to Harrison's Hot Springs this year," I asked him. There had been road closures in the past.
"In a truck you can, " he told me. A believable sort. Probably owned a monster truck.

Driving through Mount Currie and heading up the Duffy Lake Road where the sign for Lillooet Lake jogs left was just fine. Beautiful day. Sunshine. Blue sky. Amazing vistas. Late summer. None of the music that prepares you though for the horror film.

Easy logging road drive. . Around 45 km is where St. Agnes Hotsprings exists. St. Agnes Hotsprings is incredible. There's a $5 user charge. The change room is an outhouse but half the adults go naked. It's European that way. You can spot the Canadians dressed in blue long johns with trap doors , balaclava face masks and scarves. They think taking off their parkas in the hotsprings is a really liberal sexy living. Dragonflies abounded. I talked with a Polish guy about skin properties of algae and not too long after I was a boiled lobster and ready to hit the road again. My friend could have stayed the week. She's an exile from amniotic fluid.

The road got better and better. I figured they were opening this area for tourists as well as new logging going on. All was going well till we got to the head of Harrison Lake. Great view and then the sign said: "ROAD CLOSED. Impassable. For more information call ......" That couldn't be true. What do signs know? There were tracks on the road where another vehicle had gone. I didn't think their going in and none coming out could have several meanings. I'd already had the fatal 4x 4 thought, "I think I'll just go see."

"I think I'll just go see," I said. She'd not been 4x4 so didn't know the missing horror theme music was beginning to crescendo.

In the past that "just go see" thought has caused me no end of grief 4x4 ing. Turning back or backing out of the 'just go see' is where the excitement usually begins. There was the time when the high mountain road collapsed under my 4x4 leaving me dangling precariously on 2 wheels until I could winch myself back onto the remaining road. The returning around that part driving sideways on the wall and what was left of the road was nearly as exciting. Or the time being washed down the river in the new Ford Broncho II when the dog jumped ship and I was thankful to hook up on a fallen tree so I could winch myself out. I don't like to remember those times.

This road was difficult but not excessive for the first part. The next sign "DUE TO FIRE THE RIDGE IS UNSTABLE" could have given pause for thought. But then the hand written sign "USE EXTREME CAUTION, BEWARE OF FALLING BURNT DEBRIS" appeared.
That's when my friend bravely said, "well, there must be people driving on this road for people to be putting up caution signs, don't you think. " What good news.

That's when the road turned extreme. It was boulders and wash out going up a half mile stretch with huge pot holes and half a road missing going down. The Ranger was superb. This just kept on and on. I had to stop to tighten the tie downs on the motorcycle twice as the truck was lurching from side to side and bucking bronchoing up down the bare rock. Somehow thanks to the big tires and high suspension and nimble steering I didn't hit anything. It was such rough hard going I wasn't making any more than 5 kph , night was falling, and I was losing hope.

Just then I saw headlights and a couple of crazy First Nations guys pulled up in their 4x4 Jeep.
"Is the road open through to Harrisons? " I asked.
"Yes, A little rough in spots. We came to look at where the fire had been."All around us was a charred moon surface. I 'd been so intent on driving I'd hardly registered the bleak scarred hills.
My friend had told me that the Lillooet Fire had been in the news for weeks this summer and this was where it had broken through to Harrison Lake. The town of Lillooet had been evaculate for safety.

"It's a little rough between here and the top of Harrison's." I said. We waved each other on, smiling, friendly, the way folk are off the beaten track.

Their 'a little rough' was a 'little rougher' than my ' a little rough".

We came to a truck totalling corridor that I'll long remember in my already too memorbble 4x4 experience, that included rolling over among other things.

Hearing the road was passable though bolstered my dwindling faith.

That's when we hit death valley hill. On either side of this stretch there were the left over dead bodies of two trucks whose suspensions had been torn out by the road or truck eating monsters. It was so steep that I had to keep momentum wrangling boulders the size of basketballs and riding sideways between washed bare rocks. Thats when the road played its best trick which had definitely caught the dead truck lying on it's side. Breasting over top a man sized boulder had fallen into the road forcing me to twist and ride sideways around it with no room to spare and a gully to nose through beyond. A second truck which had it's vitals torn out by that same beast lay on the other side of the road dismembered. I got through it somehow. Maybe the motorcycle sitting high in the back was telling the truck about where to go but somehow we got through that worst spot.

What followed then wasn't nearly as extreme or exciting but still 'rough' as attested by a half dozen more vehicles abandoned torn to bits by what must have been a bunch of those bad road beasts. It was 4x4 dead alley. Later I came across a cross where a human had gone down with his truck.

A couple of hours later I caught the lights of Harrison's way off across the lake in the distance. We came out at the Hemlock Valley exit onto Highway 7 . I'd have preferred the trail ended in the centre of town with a brass band but the paved highway was just about as good. I resisted getting out and kissing the asphault. Civilization.
Late at night I was glad to be back enjoying the city of Vancouver. It's so hard to believe that such awesome outdoors is only an hour away.
The old truck and young motorcycle seemed to have bonded now. That truck sure showed that kid some mighty fine moves. I left them in the garage going over the best parts.